Mama Carrie Makes

I Am One in Four


Ok, dear imaginary reader. This will get personal. Prepare to hear way more than you ever dreamt about my reproductive past in 5… 
I had an abortion on my 20th birthday. 
PapaMakes and I were approaching our 2 year anniversary. We met at a house party in College Town. My friend from highschool and his friend from highschool were roomies, freshly out of the dorms and into a, you guessed it, Party House. We met Halloween night, but only to shake hands and move on. The next day, I came back to Party House to hang out. I was a staple hanger-on. We sat on the couch together and compared tattoos, he sat on my feet. We learned our relatives lived near each other in the same town in Central CA.  We spent the rest of the weekend together. I’m not sure how his friend from highschool felt about that. When he left (my dorm room) to return Home on Monday morning, I got the digits. 
I was afraid too shy to call. I asked his Highschool Friend. She told me to get some freakin’ courage and call already (in much nicer terms). I called that night.  He was out, but the friend he was staying with said, “Ahh, so you’re the one he met this weekend.”    
Hence the approaching 2 year anniversary. And the impregnation. And the serious anxiety associated with an unplanned pregnancy. And the nausea compounded by said anxiety. 
I had not been feeling well for some time. I had basically quit school, to hide at home from reality. When I finally took myself to the clinic the doc tried to reassure me, “It’s probably gastritis.” 
It was totally not gastritis. Or indigestion. Or anything to do with my gastro-intestinal system. 
I told PapaMakes (ha!) the afternoon after visiting the clinic. He reacted better than I’d hoped. I could not imagine giving birth or raising a child at that time, and he was going to support whatever decision I made. That relieved some of the anxiety. But we needed help. Abortions were/are expensive, and the interwebz were in their infancy. Today I would Google up some resources. I was feeling my way along in the dark then. My first instinct, call Mom. 
In 1996, I had called my Mom with news. She tried to guess, “You’re pregnant?” Phew, no, just tattooed (at 17)! Two years later, it was almost easy to call with the news. We cried together, she was glad I trusted her enough to call her. Of course she would help us with the expense. 

Now to make the appointment. Only one ‘Clinic Day’ per month at the local Planned Parenthood. The last day of the month. Waiting for next month would be into the 2nd trimester, another $100.  Alright then,  */**/98 it is.  My birthday. That felt like suitable punishment for allowing myself to get pregnant. I had been thinking about this for 3 weeks, what a terrible mistake, what a horrible person I was, etcetera. How irresponsible I had been to find myself in this situation. What if my mother had aborted me instead of giving me up for adoption?   

But she did not have a choice. She probably had zero access to birth control or abortion. She probably knew she was pregnant, but we know she didn’t tell anyone in her family until labor began. The adoption was hastily carried out in the hospital. This is the first time I have put it together in this way. (Personal revelation while blogging alert!) She did not have a choice.  Hide the pregnancy until it’s time, or confess to her family and probably be sent away until afterward.

 I did have a choice,  I had made my decision. PapaMakes supported my decision.  Mom supported my decision.  So it was.  

 That birthday was spent in the packed waiting room with dozens of other women and their Abortion Buddies. There was only one protestor outside, standing passively on the curb with a giant poster covered with photos I choose not to look at. Most of us waited hours before hearing our name called. Our Abortion Buddies were not allowed to come into the clinical area with us.  We were on our own. 
I remember being very nervous and determined. I remember going into a small counseling room first, with brochures and brochure holders covering almost all available wall and desk space.  The assistant asked me to confirm that yes, this was what I wanted and yes, I knew there were other options.  Then we transitioned to another room, bigger than your average exam room, with a table and stirrups and instruments and supplies and a doctor.  I don’t remember interacting much with the doctor.  
What I remember is the nurse holding my hand.  The hollow soothing words.  I remember tears pooling in my ears.  I remember the terrible, distant pain and pressure.  And I remember the relief.  The sweet, sweet conflicted relief.
After transitioning to another room and recovering for about 30 minutes, the nurse advised me how to care for myself at home, injected Depoprovera into my thigh and sent me on my way.  We went grocery shopping, had a nice dinner with our neighbor/friend, and went to bed early.
I do not believe I murdered a baby on that day. I did not make a mistake. I may have saved my own life. 
Bottom line for me: if a woman does not want to be pregnant or give birth, she should not be forced to. Human adults have sex, sometimes young adults have sex. I don’t find sex to be morally wrong, so I have no issues with this. This is why we have the blessing of birth control and sex education. Pregnancy/parenthood is not a punishment for wayward and naughty sex-havers, it is not a biological imperative. It is for humans who feel they are personally ready to care for and teach a new life on this planet.  I write this to add my voice to the chorus, and help you to realize that more women you know have had abortions than you will ever realize.
Fast forward more than 11 years. PapaMakes popped the question in July 2003. We married in April 2004 and welcomed BabyMakes in July 2005.  We confirmed our suspicions at another Planned Parenthood.  PapaMakes and I looked at each other and started laughing.  And hugging.  And rejoicing. 
We were/are well and truly blessed. 
May you be as well.

Author: mamacarriemakes

Wife, mother, friend, crafter/artist, rad fattie, nerd, administrative superstar, adoptee, caregiver, humanist, tattooed nose-ring bearer.

4 thoughts on “I Am One in Four

  1. thank you so much for sharing this.

  2. How insightful and courageous you are to stand up and tell your story ~ which is filled with integrity and personal honesty. You are wise beyond your young years.
    This is what it takes to change the world ~ one woman, one story at a time and the courage to stand up and tell it, give it a face and give it a name. Hugs, AR

  3. thank you for this…